Wednesday, January 19

At least 30 immigrants killed in three shipwrecks off the Greek coast


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The Greek coast guards are looking for the survivors of a new wreck of a boat with immigrants in the Aegean Sea, which brings the death toll to about 30 deaths. On Friday night, rescuers lifted the bodies of 16 immigrants, 12 men, three women and a baby, from the sea and saved 63 people after the sinking of a boat near the island of Paros.

Survivors claim there was 80 people on board of the ship that was destined for Italy.

This latest tragedy -the third since Wednesday- raises the death toll to 30 in a week, and it occurs at a time when smuggling activity in Greek waters is unusually high reaching a level not seen in months.

“These days, the criminal activity of traffickers, indifferent to human life, increased. They crowd dozens of distressed people, without life jackets, on boats that do not meet any safety standards, “he said on Friday. Ioannis Plakiotakis, Greek Minister for Marine Affairs.

According to the senior official, Turkey “lets traffickers act with impunity.”

Three coast guard patrol boats, private boats and a rescue plane were continuing the search on Saturday, according to authorities, assisted by divers.

Rescue operation

In turn, on Friday morning an operation had been completed to rescue 90 immigrants that had been stuck on an islet north of the Greek island of Antikythera after their boat ran aground there: among the survivors were 52 men, 11 women and 27 children. In the operation, the coast guard recovered 11 bodies.

Rescuers reported Saturday that, among the migrants, they had identified two men suspected of being the traffickers, for which they were arrested.

On Friday, the coast guard had intercepted another vessel with 92 men and boys on board after it ran aground off the coast of the Peloponnese peninsula. Subsequently, three suspected smugglers who fled the ship on foot were arrested. And on Wednesday, a boat carrying migrants sank off the island of Folegandros, killing at least three people. Thirteen were rescued, but dozens (between 32 and 50, according to the survivors) remain missing, authorities told AFP.

Greek media highlight the fact that the recent shipwrecks occurred on days with good weather conditions.

The UN estimates that some 2,500 people have died or disappeared at sea in their attempt to reach Europe from January to November this year.

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